Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Paris dreaming by Anita Heiss

This is 'chick, chook or choc lit' for a female readership in the 20-30 age range so it was a little hard for some Minervans to fully appreciate this novel.

It was considered rather lame and lacking substance however that isn't the purpose of this style of literature.  Rather it entertains, discusses fashion, young men and all to do with male/female relationships with a happy conclusion.

Anita Heiss is a young and 'proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of New South Wales as well as being Adjunct Professor with Jumbunna Indigenous House of learning at UTS, Sydney'. (Quote from her website).  Heiss is a prolific writer and researcher, writing children's books, novels (eg Manhattan Dreaming) and non-fiction such as Am I black enough.  She seems highly focussed and thereappears to be a touch of Anita in Lauren in Paris dreaming.

Her choc lit style is incorporated into a novel about a young Indigenous professional woman Lauren who works at the National Aboriginal Gallery in Canberra who has the temerity to push the boundaries. She questions her identity, her single status and her politics. She also extols the wonderful Indigenous artists, writers and poets with possibly an effect upon her reader's knowledge.

We also spoke about the use of Aboriginal words in the novel. These are a good introduction for readers.  We really appreciated the warmth of her relationships with her 'tiddas' -- both in Canberra and in Europe. These are strong bonds and there is a real feeling of responsibility between these good friends. We also liked the mother/daughter relationship, where Lauren is allowed to grow up strong and independent in contrast to her brothers.

Some members felt that Heiss degraded Canberra in contrast to Paris however that is often a feeling when one is bored. Another feature we liked was the introduction of an underlying plot about a Gypsy girl. This highlights Lauren's status as well as her compassion.

Overall an interesting and different novel !      

(February 2013 meeting)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this Sylvia ... I particularly liked the political imperative Heiss has behind her chicklit books, that is her desire to show non-indigenous and indigenous Australians that there are young professional indigenous women who share the same concerns as any young professional person. Heiss feels that she has a responsibility to put indigenous Australians on the "identity radar".


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